Wednesday, March 19, 2008

More Nationals Stuff

** JUST ADDED ** The Scrum (Larkins and Sawatzky) interview Brad Rootes

Matt Slan's CIS Nationals report on Canada Basketball web site.

Here is a note that brings tremendous gratification for doing this site. As many who have heard/read my thoughts on strategic marketing of CIS basketball, gaining some degree of profile in the Greater Toronto and Montreal areas, which together represent a large chunk of Canada's population is critical to further developing our game. At this point, I see no evidence of any initiatives to do so. I hope that this small story is the start of something bigger that in the long run benefits our game:

Last summer I discovered your blog as a source of information for Canada's national program. I am a basketball fan but it is very difficult to get information about the game at the university level in this country. I know several people who played university ball here back in the 1980's. They played with very little recognition.

I have tried to watch the national final game every year. This year was different because of your information, I was able to watch a number of games in the tournament. There is a lot of good basketball being played at all levels in this country. At the university level, it is a very exciting game. The Acadia vs Carleton game was extremely exciting.

I know that there is a small community in a rough neighbourhood in Toronto. I heard it was hard to find the young men on Saturday night because they were in the community centre after hours watching the game. So something is happening. Your blog provides information and promotes the game. I pass it onto people and we are all benefiting from your passion for the game.


Neate Sager winds down from the Final 8 and Final 8 rates well

Excerpts from a William Houston article in the Globe and Mail earlier this week:

Friday night audiences:
Basketball, Laval-Acadia, CIS quarter-final, Score, 41,000 – Good start to CIS tournament
Basketball, Raptors-Nuggets, Sportsnet, 93,000 – Later start than usual (9 p.m. EDT)
Basketball, Carleton-Alberta, Score, 84,000 – CIS audience close to Raptors
Saturday audiences:
Basketball, Western-Brock, CIS semi-final, Score, 73,000 – Excellent number
Basketball, Acadia-Carleton CIS semifinal, Score 118,000 – Largest CIS audience of weekend
Sunday's audiences:
Basketball, Brock-Acadia CIS final, Score, 58,000 – Up 53 per cent from 2007
Curling, Ont.-Alta. Brier final, CBC, 1.171 mil. – Down 2 per cent from 2007
Basketball, Raptors-Kings, TSN, 143,000 – About right for Raptors on TSN
Good for the Score to provide full coverage of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport men's basketball tournament last weekend. A year ago, the CIS games conflicted with the Score's coverage of the U.S. college men's basketball tournament and ended up streamed on the Internet. The Score's tournament average audience of 77,000 is a record.


Thanks to Arash Madani of the Score for sending along this article excerpt...

From C.G. Morrison's father (Alberta guard) who made the trip to Ottawa all the way from Victoria, B.C.
Good day Hoops Fans, Well after a long and safe journey home I wanted to capsulize the weekend for all of you from the perspective of a fan and a father.
a) The Venue: Scotiabank Place was terrific for watching basketball...great sight lines, great sound, super Jumbotron, etc. The bigger the crowd the better. Location of course presents some issues for the CIS to work out: anyone from out of town, sans vehicle, was forced to vacate the premises between sessions for 1-2 hours. Of course you could go to Marshys and pay $25 for a burger and beer !!!!!!!! I found that part of the weekend irritating..being from Victoria I was not going to stand outside in freezing weather so I ponied up, but for two days in a row??? They have to come up with a section we can still sitin while they clean or something. I was in attendance for every game, paid in advance for the tickets, but still got herded up and shoved out between the sessions. Ridiculous. When I raised it to Security they called for " backup" thinking I was going to cause trouble.....hah !!
b) The Host Hotel the Marriott; Good location hotel, clean, central, comfortable rooms, fitness, pool etc. Pricey for eats and beers especially for the students, athletes and families. Since when is it normal to pay $8 for a pint ??? think again.and $16 for breakfast?? CIS forgets that most parents are drained by this time of year from paying the athletes bills all year long...we can't afford such high prices. A little too elite for my taste. I suppose thats the charm of Halifax. Great job having shuttles between the Hotel and site for FREE. I caught the first one each day and the last one coming home at night. Clean big and mostly empty !!! Thank you Carleton/CIS/Marriott
c) The Tournament... I watched each and every game.....and I was impressed with ALL the teams. UBC losing on Friday was sad but they were simply not hungry enough. Alberta gave all on Friday night, ran in to very biased calls....Doornekamp got away with everything...Bears never got any game going and when they did the technicals started flying and a 5 point turnaround happens and the game is over. Bears never shot well Friday night. Bell is an amazing defender. CG has to go to the Hoop more often. Bears need him to do so. All in all a great game that was winnable. Saturday's games by the Canada West teams were sloppy. UBC won, Alberta lost. Obvious that Alberta's heart was not in it on Saturday...they did well but without any desperation. Laval wins because it mattered to them obviously. Same call for Laval/UBC...Laval wanted it more. The Acadia versus Carleton game was THE game to see whether it is live or taped....see it if you haven't. Double OT and some of the best clutch shooting I have ever witnessed. That game was worth the trip alone. Thank you to both teams for such a display. Acadia was literally " spent" for Sundays final against Brock and the Badgers were calm cool and collected for the final push. Well done Brock. Great clutch shooting by Dusty and Mike Kemp. Wow.
Will I go back???... For sure.


Andrew Buchholtz of Sporting Madness has a note on Stan Peters settling with TWU

The Ubyssey reports on UBC's trip to the Nationals

A encouraging article on Sue Stewart, a great baller in her day from Mississauga & former Laurentian All-Canadian who looks to regain her physical freedom

As a follow up to his pre-tournament article which essentially questioned how good a job Carleton University and Scotiabank Place would do with the Nationals, good on TSN's Alex J. Walling, a native of Atlantic Canada, for complementing the organizing group, led by Jennifer Brenning of Carleton and Cyril Leeder of Scotiabank Place. Note also the figure Brenning quotes for attendance, which is consistent with how she has tracked attendance in the weeks leading up to and right through the completion of the tournament Carleton does a good job hosting CIS tournament

Morris Dalla Costa in the London Free Press on Cinderella leaves dance

Ryan Hendrick of the Western Press Badgers win tournament of upsets plus Mustangs have tipped the odds in their favour

The Scrum has their take on the Nationals The Come Down and is later this week promising an interview with Brock's Brad Rootes

Austin Kent from the Brock Press Kings of Canada also from the Niagara Falls Review A sweet win no one saw coming

Laurier's campus newspaper, the Cord, takes a closer look at CIS Rookie-of-the-Year Kale Harrison

Owen White tribute articles Small-town boy had lots of help on way to National glory Ryan Hendrick from the Western Gazette White saves best for last another article from Port Hope's local press White: it was one of my best games ever Finally, Mayor of Port Hope leads his team to national title

The Gateway Online, Alberta's campus newspaper, with a look at the Bears tournament summary

Family commitments will take up a bunch of my time in the coming days as we hopefully very soon welcome our fourth child into the world.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

More Thoughts on the Nationals

The progress made by the Acadia Axemen over the past two seasons has been nothing short of sensational. Coach Les Berry inherited a program reeling from a 2004-05 mid-season coaching change that left the team in the hands of a coach who's first sport was football. In Berry's first season in Wolfville (2005-06), the Axemen went only 5-23 overall including 2-17 in the AUS but even then Coach Berry was laying the foundation for success, bringing in 6'1" Paolo Santana as his prize recruit from Toronto but also 6'5" Shawn Berry from Brampton and 6'5" Luckern Dieu from Montreal to join 6'8" Ash Lual (Ottawa), the one holdover from '04-'05. Berry had his challenges in the his first year but added a tremendous recruiting class in time for his second year led by 6'2" Andrew Kraus at the point, allowing him to move Santana to the wing for spurts, and giving more time to 6'1" Peter Leighton, who the country found out Saturday night what basketball fans on the East coast have known for a few year: he can flat out shoot the ball. 6'0" Pat McIver also arrived last season but 6'5" Leonel Saintil, thus far Acadia's most prized recruit, came in last season but was forced to sit out after transfering from Memorial. With that, Acadia had the pieces in place to make a move up the AUS table, which they did last season, making the playoffs and then ripping through the AUS tournament en route to the conference championship. But, in retrospect, one game could likely be pointed in which the Axemen matured: last season's loss at the Nationals to Carleton. It turned out to be a watershed moment in this young team's progress and the group could have gone one of two ways. Leighton's reaction, shooting 300 jumpers a day in the summer to get ready for this season and a possible rematch with Carleton, epitomized the resiliant attitude of the Axemen. With the move into the starting lineup this season of Saintil after sitting out for transfer rules, Acadia had a legitimate post threat and the puzzle pieces were virtually all in place. The Axemen started the season with an early October win in Moncton against Saint Mary's in what turned out to be a preview of the AUS championship. The teams met again in the championship game of the UNB tournament with the Huskies claiming a three point win followed up shortly thereafter by a 4 point win in Wolfville to start the AUS season. The Axemen went to the Christmas break ranked in the Top 5 but promptly lost their opening game of the tournament to Calgary by 11 in a game in which they trailed by 20 very early. Acadia rebounded to defeat Brandon in what turned out to be a game that likely tipped the scales toward them in the wild card. However, the Axemen hit the low point of their season the following day in a double overtime loss to Manitoba, which was destined for a last-place finish in Canada West's Great Plains division. With the national scribes questioning how good this team was, the Axemen showed their resolve and won the first 6 games back after the break including victories over Saint Mary's in the first game after the break and Cape Breton. However, the Axemen lost the rematch to the Capers back in Sydney and faced St. FX the next day in Antigonish. Coming off a road loss during a long trip playing back-to-back and with first place and a high national ranking on the line, the Axemen produced by far their best effort of the season to that point, blasting X right out of the Oland Center 92-63, X's worst home loss in decades. Jumping out to a 14 point halftime with 8 different Axemen hitting the board, the Axemen proved they were for real, starting an eight game winning streak that ended in the AUS tournament championship game. By now, you know most of the rest as Acadia put on a gutty defensive performance led by Lual and found their range from the perimeter behind Leighton to slay the mighty Carleton Ravens. Acadia will have to replace a pair of starters in 6'8" Lual and 6'5" Berry but the other six players in their main rotation are scheduled to return including the past two AUS POY's in Saintil (going into 4th) and Santana (going into 5th). Kraus, who has improved steadily throughout his career and did a very underrated job handling, defending and looking for his offense this weekend, has 3 more years as the Axemen's floor leader. With Leighton (4th) and McIver (3rd), Acadia has proven clutch shooters from the perimeter and Dieu (5th) should move back into the starting lineup, pending the arrival of any new recruits. Acadia is back as an annual contender in the AUS and on the national scene... Bitter disappointment gripped a number of Carleton fans we were able to see and talk to immediately after the game in a couple arena watering holes. Having watched their Ravens continually defy the odds and win virtually every close game, the sense in the building was, at least midway through the fourth quarter of regulation that Carleton would right things and come back. But as Acadia met every Raven challenge and/or the Ravens missed several opportunities to win the game with final possessions or at the foul line, for the first time in several years the mood in the building appeared to change and the inevitable didn't happen. Carleton Head Coach Dave Smart was understandably disappointed but very gracious in quickly giving full credit to Acadia, especially shooting guard Peter Leighton, for making numerous big plays when they mattered most. Smart appropriately seeked out Leighton after the game on the floor after the handshake line to personally congratulate the Nova Scotia native on a tremendous effort. He gave full credit to Acadia for making big plays and doing a solid job defensively, especially 6'8" Ash Lual on 6'7" Aaron Doornekamp. Offensively, down the stretch, he felt his group "got to the areas on the floor where we felt we would be able to make something positive happen" but lamented the fact that "their length really gave us problems finding passing lanes when we got there". He basically agreed that with the hot shooting of Leighton, it was difficult to pinch down on Saintil inside, providing the athletic center with more room to operate off the high/low. Smart was also very sincere in his comments about "feeling really bad for our kids, many of who are taking this tough". All in all, Smart was surprisingly upbeat considering the loss, gave full credit to Coach Les Berry and his players and accentuated the positive that he and the group will learn from the loss... About 30 coaches participated in a series of annual meetings addressing several topics. First of all, I want to personally thank every coach in the country who made my life easier by being accessible after games via the telephone or email. In some cases, coaches were proactive in calling me, some even after bad losses. Those who have supported this site know who they are and rest assured I am grateful for the support and the gesture made after this weekend's meetings. I trust that together we're helping to grow what is a tremendous product and we look forward to continuing to increase the profile of CIS basketball. One of the major topics discussed was revising the format for the Nationals with several new ideas put forth. The format I find most appealing is one that retains the Final 8 but with a 16 team format. I believe it is important to maintain the Final 8 format as I'm not convinced that the economics of a Final 4 with only 3 meaningful games instead of 7 will work. Under this proposed scenario, the four conference winners advance directly to the Final 8 while the remaining 12 teams (selection process to be decided), participate in 3 mini-regionals across the country. The winners of those three regionals would advance to the Nationals and then an eighth team would be selected via a wild card process. Scheduling the mini-regionals relative to the Final 8 would be somewhat challenging as the 4 winners may have to sit out longer than they might like. As well, all conferences would likely have to go to a weekend tournament format like the AUS and Canada West have currently. But the scenario works because it legitimizes the conference championship and also allows for more programs and players to participate in the experience of a sudden-death, tournament-like setting against teams from outside their conference. The business case for the mini-regionals has been discussed however many of the details likely still need to be worked out. It is important to note that these scenarios are in the idea stage and much work remains to actually change the format but the discussions were clearly active and progressive in my opinion... Attendance at the event was a much-discussed and often-debated topic. Having now seen 12 games over 5 different days, including the pair of Capital Hoops Classic games that each legitimately drew over 9,000 fans, I've got a reasonable feel for how announced numbers stack up against how many are actually in the stands. Saturday night, without question, was the most exciting CIS game I have ever attended, definitely passing the first Capital Hoops Classic by the time the first overtime began and then well exceeding it with all the tremendous twists and turns that had fans emotionally exhausted by the end. It definitely appeared that at least the announced number of 9,316 fans were there on Saturday, giving the game the look and feel of a big-time game. Much of the informal chat after Saturday's game centered on what Sunday's crowd might be, what with the host Ravens not in the championship game. It was very gratifying to look around and see what I would view as between 7,500 and 8,000 fans at Sunday's final (announced crowd of 8,251), including many Carleton fans supporting the tournament despite their team's loss the night before. As well, the majority of suites were full and both teams displayed their colours in sections of the arena, making noise and again giving the event a big time feel. One area of improvement for next season could be to try to fill or possibly somehow cover the seats behind the baskets. Several photos show many empty seats which did not do the crowd or the atmosphere proper justice...

Final attendance figures:

Friday:
Game One: 7,385
Game Two: 7,385
Game Three: 8,434
Game Four: 8,610

Saturday:
Game One: 7,180
Game Two: 7,180
Game Three: 9,196
Game Four: 9,316

Sunday:
Game One: 8,251
Game Two: 8,251

Also, according to Neate Sager on the CIS Blog, the SCORE's average audience for the tournament was 77,000, a record. (see more below)

MORE: Sources indicate that preliminary audience numbers for Saturday night's game on the Score were 110,000, which is incredible for a CIS event. We hope to have more view on the incremental numbers as the game progressed, which are likely to be considerably higher. The 110,000 figure could be the highest television audience ever for a CIS event.

THANKS: A tremendous thank you goes out to the entire organizing committee led by Jennifer Brenning, Director of Athletics at Carleton, Cyril Leeder, Cheif Operating Officer of Scotiabank Place and David Kent, who did tireless work ensuring the media was well taken care of. Carleton and Scotiabank Place did an incredible job in their first go-around and, knowing the people involved, will consider all the comments and suggestions and apply their learnings to improving the event next year and beyond. There were many others who made the weekend memorable including the legions of press who ensured the event was blanketed with coverage: Wayne Kondro and his tireless work promoting the game, Dale Stevens, Neate Sager, Chris Kallan, Howard Bloom, Michel Belanger and many other new faces; the entire staff at SSN Canada for making all games available on the Internet including Bengt Neathery, Matt Kavanaugh, Mark Masters and Kevin Burton; Tim Micallef, Sherman Hamilton and Arash Madani of the SCORE, all classy and humble individuals who helped make the broadcasts tremendous (congratulations on the ratings !) and many, many others who I've probably overlooked and not forgotten. This event should continue to grow.

Monday, March 17, 2008

More Links

The Ottawa Sun has full coverage of yesterday's Brock victory including Neate Sager's Destiny for the Badgers and Chris Stevenson's Dream over for Lual and Stevenson's piece Ravens tumble with grace

A full slate of coverage by Jim Wallace in this morning's St. Catharines Standard on yesterday's win by the Badgers Brock claims National crown with gritty effort also a piece on tournament MVP Owen White White ramps up his game on the big stage and Garlic Brock's secret weapon also Plan pays off for Badger veterans and finally Badgers Championship quotebook

Wayne Kondro reports on the aftermath of Carleton's semi-final loss a day later in Ravens misfired when it mattered

Chris Cochrane of the Halifax Chronicle-Herald with Cinderella story took ugly turn also Axemen run out of gas

Marc Weber of the Vancouver Province on yesterday's Laval win over UBC in the consolation final Dyck can't quite do it all

Greg Layson from Big Man on Campus recalls a conversation with Ken Murray from earlier in the year

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Calgary's Wayne Thomas and his final thoughts

Brock Buries Axemen to Claim CIS Crown By Wayne Thomas of Dinos News... The CIS National Championship stays in Ontario, as the Brock Badgers, the #7 seed, clawed back from a 31-21 half-time deficit to clip the Acadia Axemen (#5) 64-61 in Ottawa Sunday afternoon to win the 2008 title. Some would say upset, but after Carleton was eliminated by Acadia in Saturday's thriller, it was anyone's game, and Brock seized the opportunity in the second half of the Final when Acadia's offense stalled, and the Badgers heated up. Mike Kemp scored 15 of his game high 23 points in the 2nd stanza, including 6/13 from 3 pt. range, and this ultimately decided the issue. Brock, which won their second National Title, the other coming in 1992, also got 12 points and 9 boards from Tournament MVP Owen White, their quick post, who scored key late points against the bigger Acadia front line. Even though he was quiet in the scoring department, Brad Rootes, the 5th year Brock All- Canadian guard, made great plays down the stretch at both ends of the court, and, when Acadia took their point man, Paulo Santana out for the last 4 minutes for defensive purposes, Rootes controlled the action for the Badgers. Acadia got 18 from Santana, 14 from Shawn Berry, a 5th year guard, and 12 from big Leonel Saintil, but the weary Axemen looked spent at game's end, and may well have been feeling the effects of the 2OT game late Saturday night.

CIS Notes ...

> This really was a playoff season of upsets, with no predictability to the ultimate winner. Brock had the most experienced team, and this served them well as they improved through the Tournament. They were the final qualifier, as they won a 3rd place game for the 'host' spot for Ontario. They were always a threat, but lost a few big games in the OUA to drop out of the rankings, and we can see how hard it is to choose teams when there is limited inter-league play in the CIS.

> Congratulations to the coaches and players at Brock ... an incredible experience for two father-son combinations ... Ken Murray and son Scott, and Bill Rootes and son Brad. A special salute to Coach Brian Mulligan, 'Mugsy' is one of the great guys in the game, and a friend and mentor to so many in the Brock program and his own high school teams over the years.

> Don't expect Carleton to disappear next season ... they have almost all players back, and Coach Dave Smart will have the Ravens back with a vengeance. They are, after all, the only team guaranteed to be back in the 2009 Tournament.

> There is discussion of an expanded field, and, the competition might indicate that to be a consideration, but practicality and budget concerns would suggest otherwise. Don't expect a format change anytime soon.

> Now we sit back and await the coaching changes ... RMC, New Brunswick ... any others to be announced ? Assistant Coaches, College Coaches are all polishing their resumes and whispering in the ear of anyone they know who may give them a shot at a CIS Head Coaching spot.

> Recruiting announcements have already started, and now that the high school tournaments are over, the undeclared will get the full court press from the coaching hunters. ID Camps will follow shortly, and the hopefuls would be wise to remember that academics are a big part of CIS competition, with many schools not admitting strictly on how well you hit the open 'J'.

> A big thanks to the many correspondents who follow the CIS and share their thoughts with all of us ... special kudos to 'our leader', Mark Wacyk, who will try and smile through the tears and wait for next season. CISHOOPS.CA is the anchor for many fans, players, parents, and commentators. Good job by 'The Score' with their HD coverage of the Nationals ! Any thoughts for a 'Game of the Week' next season ?

Links from Nationals

Wayne Kondro's article which is posted up on the National Post web site Brock wins CIS basketball championship Wayne also has a very good piece summarizing the views of how the event came off They've put on a very good show plus the Citizen's array of photos in the Basketball Gallery plus the Ottawa Sun photo gallery

Michael Grange with a story that is at the top of Globe's Sports page on the net Brock writes Cinderella story

Austin Kent of Hoops Addict with Graduating Badgers retire on top. The Welland Tribune pays tribute to a couple of native sons in Rose City rooting interest

Chad Lucas has a couple of posts on the Nationals including How many people really were there ? and Acadia/Brock game notes

Game story by John Bower from the CIS web site

Brock edges Acadia for CIS title from Sportsnet.ca

John Decoste from NovaNewsNow.com Axemen title hopes fall short in loss to Brock

Northumberland Today, a Port Hope area newspaper, has the story on native son Owen White and his MVP performance at the CIS Nationals

Andrew Buchholtz from Queen's University has a pair of very comprehensive write-ups on this afternoon's Brock victory over Acadia and last nights' Upset of the Century

Storybook ending for Badgers Seniors

The scene near the Brock bench moments after the final horn of the 2008 CIS championship game was touching. Badger guard Scott Murray, after a very brief initial celebration with his teammates, sprinted directly into the arms of his father, Brock coach Ken Murray. The enveloping embrace lasted for almost a minute and evoked tears from more than just the father and son combination that had waited a lifetime to share a special championship moment. Son Scott, maligned by some earlier in his career as a player only the roster because of who his father was, proved the critics wrong time and time again throughout his five year career culminating in a solid effort in this afternoon's championship game that included a pair of threes and some key rebounds down the stretch of Brock's 64-61 victory over Acadia before a crowd of 8,251 at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa. The elder Murray, who now has guided the Badgers to two National championships wiped away the tears after the long hug and was later still beaming that he could share such a special moment with his boy, "What can you say? This is the way we dreamed it would end and I'm as happy for all the guys as I am for Scott. But winning a championship with my son is something we both will remember for life." 6'7" Owen White, who at the mid-point of last season was nothing more than an after thought as an offensive threat in the post, continued his meteoric rise as a CIS star by garnering the MVP of the tournament including a 12 point, 9 rebound effort in today's final after getting a career high 25 points and 14 rebounds in the semi-final win against Western. Brock assistant coach Steve Atkin, who rarely shows considerable emotion, was also beaming, obviously very proud of his latest student as the 6'10" former National team player from the 80's soaked in the celebration. White is the latest in a string of post players which include 6'8" former Moser Award winner Kevin Stienstra who came to St. Catharines as relatively unheralded players and, under the daily tutelage of Atkin, an accomplished post player in his day at Simon Fraser, Waterloo and the National team, rapidly progressed to become top flight CIS post players. Assistant coach Brian Mulligan, who was also with the Badgers when they last won the Nationals in 1992, spoke proudly of guards which he handled every day in practice and Bill Rootes, another assistant was also a proud papa as his All-Canadian son, Brad Rootes, the face of the Badgers for five years was finally rewarded with a National championship. As always, Rootes was the underlying key to Brock all weekend with 8 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists today. 6'2" Rohan Steen came running up to Atkin for a full embrace and an ecstatic "Thank you, coach" as Brock completed the unlikely run through the tournament after coming in as a #7 seed. Another senior playing his last game as a Badger 6'7" Dusty Bianchin knocked down the two final baskets including a 17 foot jumper on a pass from Rootes with 1:45 remaining to put Brock ahead for good. For the four graduating seniors from the "Region" (Rootes, Murray, Bianchin and Steen) who have played together since grade school, it was a fitting ending to their careers. After playing with the weight of possibly ending their careers at home in the OUA playoffs, Brock's solid second half in the OUA Bronze medal win over Ottawa lifted the pressure of making the Nationals and the last 3 days Brock played with much more confidence, fluidity and aggressiveness. Another Region native, 6'3" Mike Kemp of Niagara Falls, a tournament all-star, was at his very best in the deciding game, scoring 23 points with a 6 for 13 effort from downtown with two of the threes coming in the final 6 minutes of play. The first 3 brought the Badgers back to within one after giving up the first 5 points of the fourth quarter. The second, with a hand in his face, tied the game at 60 with just 2:20 to play, setting up Bianchin's game-deciding shot. Congratulations to the boys from the Region on a tremendous effort over the three days of action in Ottawa and enjoy the celebration.

Brock vs. Acadia Preview

Hoops Addict provides their account of the two semi-final games

Brock's best player in this tournament has been 6'7" Owen White so expect 6'8" Ach Lual to be assigned to stopping White, who, with his quickness and athletic ability, is a much different player than either 6'7" J.P. Morin or 6'7" Aaron Doornekamp, the two other All-Canadians Lual has guarded in the tournament. But White may be the more difficult check for Lual, especially if he concentrates on facing up from the soft corner instead of trying to back Lual down. Brock will likely have their hands full inside and on the offensive glass with 6'5" Leonel Saintil who likely will be guarded by White. Brock will have to limit Acadia second chances. Both teams have explosive shooters in Acadia's 6'1" Peter Leighton and 6'0" Patrick MacIver with Brock countering with a wealth of perimeter threats in 6'0" Scott Murray, 6'3" Rohan Steen and 6'2" Mike Kemp, not to mention 5'10" Brad Rootes. Expect Kemp to start on 6'5" Shawn Berry, who ran into early foul trouble last night although he was instrumental in Acadia's win down the stretch with some huge putbacks and buckets inside and out. The battle at the point promises to be a good one between a pair of physical guards in the fifth-year sensation Rootes and Kraus, an intelligent, strong sophomore. Kraus battled cramps last night late in the game so his progress to that end will need to monitored. Many championship finals have had mediocre shooting, owing to teams playing their third games in 2 1/2 days. Expect Brock to mix in significant doses of their 2-3 and 3-2 zones, especially if the fouls start to mount and it would not be surprising in those instances to see both MacIver and Leighton on the floor together. 6'1" Paolo Santana played on the edge last night and was spectacular in spots, getting out in transition where he is as exciting a player as there is in the CIS, breaking people down off the dribble and wreaking havoc on the ball defensively. But Santana nearly let his emotions get the better of him in a key spot (credit Kraus especially with showing the leadership to throw some water on what could have been a fiery situation) and Coach Les Berry will have to be aware of monitoring the situation when things aren't going Santana's way, which Coach Berry did marvelously well last night. Somehow, I think both teams will find a way to keep the adrenaline levels high and both teams bring plenty of emotion to the floor; I expect another tremendously exciting, offensive-oriented affair to transpire.

More Articles

Neate Sager provides his thoughts on where this game might rank in history Greatest story ever hooped on the CIS blog; also Acadia deep-sixes Carleton's dynasty

Chad Lucas chimes in on his Posting Up blog Axemen did it ! also Lucas Timmons provides his thoughts on the Axemen Nationals blog Also, Chad's article in this morning's Halifax Chronicle-Herald Acadia's revenge Also, John DeCoste of NovaNewsNow.com with a piece about Acadia's win last night

Wayne Kondro's piece in this morning's Ottawa Citizen labelled Heartbreak by the editors. Also Brock gets revenge on Western

Chris Stevenson from the Ottawa Sun captures last night's action in Ravens dynasty Axed Neate Sager also provides his thoughts in the CIS Notebook

Michael Grange of the Globe and Mail has a comprehensive story on Acadia's win over Carleton also Brock headed to CIS Final

Nik Wood from the Charlatan with Raven's kings no more

A full array of photos from last night's game in the Nationals Gallery in the Citizen

Morris Dalla Costa from the London Free Press on Western's loss to Brock

Thoughts

Many are speculating on where last night's second semi-final ranked in terms of greatest CIS games ever but in my humble estimation, given what was at stake, the drama, the twists and turns and the atmosphere, I haven't seen a more memorable affair ever. For virtually everyone I talked to who was there, it was an unbelievable night. Here are some of my observations: No doubt that Acadia made several big shots including white-hot 6'1" Peter Leighton having the game of his life, 6'1" Paolo Santana ringing in a long 3 that hit the backboard bounced around and in and the long (10 feet behind the line) three by vastly underrated 6'2" point guard Andrew Kraus. But the key to last night's game was the tremendous work on the defensive end by 6'8" Ach Lual on Moser Award winner 6'7" Aaron Doornekamp. Lual's length gave Doornekamp problems all night, whether it was flying out at him to put a hand in his face on three pointers or forcing him into much more difficult turnaround jumpers from the low block. Lual showed why he was AUS Defensive Player-of-the-Year in a dominant defensive effort where, last night, his athleticism was too much for Doornekamp. Kraus had another solid effort despite cramping up late in the game. It was critical for Acadia to get off to a strong start for their confidence and to keep the partisan crowd at bay and Kraus set the tone with a solid move off the dribble and a 15 footer to start the game. Of course, the big shot that ended the third quarter from one of the "a"'s on the Pizza Pizza marking was critical as well, after which he calmly walked stonefaced into the huddle with a look that said "we've haven't done a thing yet". But Kraus's biggest contribution could have been his leadership, especially just after a scrum that resulted in Santana wanting to get at a Raven which would have cost the Axemen dearly. Kraus showed tremendous toughness in grabbing Santana with two hands and helping him corral his emotions at a time when losing them could have cost Acadia the game. Kraus, the son of long-time Markham, ON coach George Kraus who coached both of his sons in high school, has elevated his game both physically and mentally to an elite CIS level. Leighton's ability to knock shots down was instrumental in creating more space in the low blocks for 6'5" Leonel Saintil in the high low game. With Leighton a threat, it was riskier for Carleton's guards to pinch down to help out in the low post, where usually the Ravens surround the ball on a low post catch. With more time and room to operate off the high/low, Saintil was able to get free to score and keep balls alive on the offensive glass. Santana flashed his tremendous athletic ability, scoring in transition, getting into the lane and wrecking havoc defensively in spurts. Coach Les Berry used Santana properly, substituting for him when it appeared that he was going away from the offensive game plan but without a doubt Santana was one of the keys to the win. Having said all that, Carleton had the Moser Award winner on the line in the second overtime with two shots to tie the game and possibly send it into the third overtime. We'll have more on the Carleton perspective later but again family calls this morning.

One final note: for those wishing to watch the game again, it has been archived and is available for viewing on the Streaming Sports Network web site I had the priviledge to work with Mark Masters helping describe the game and both Mark and I agreed the game would be impossible to forget. Great job by the SSN crew and Mark in making this game available - as always we welcome your feedback on the production, commentating and anything else associated with the web cast.

Articles

Wayne Kondro's piece that appeared on the National Post web site Carleton's reign ends

Canadian Press story on last night's upset win by Acadia

Axemen shock #1 Ravens

Inside the Final 8 with the Hoops Addict

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Semi #2 - Acadia 82 Carleton 80 (FINAL, 2OT)

The reign is over!; A streak which started in Halifax with an overtime win over UPEI, ends in their hometown of Ottawa, with an overtime loss; there will be a new champion of CIS men's basketball, and Acadia is full marks for the 82-80 win ... Les Berry is beside himself, and it seems he has a beef; nevertheless, Carleton inbounds, and Doornekamp is fouled; after making 1-of-2 from the line, Acadia leads by one, after a time out, 10 second left in the second OT period ... Wow, controversy, as the refs huddle, and decide the shot clock had expired before the original shot ... Sean Berry grabs a rebound and lays it in, drawing the foul ... Turnbull with a "3", followed by a Jean-Marie tip ... The Axemen have all the momentum, leading 80-74 ... Saintil with the hoop and the foul, the 5th for Rob Saunders ... Let's play two; overtimes, that is ... Peter Leighton knocks down an off balance "3", and once again, we're tied, this time 74-74 with 22.7 seconds left in overtime ... Andrew Kraus fouls out, 35.7 second left ... The Ravens have opened up a small lead, 73-71 ... This game is so good, it deserves another 5 minutes; we're headed to OT ... Paulo Santana hits one of two free throws, and we're tied 66-66 with 7.8 ticks left ... Stu Turnbull steals the ball and scores on the layup with 13 seconds left ... Again Acadia replies, leading 65-64, in the final minute ... JE Jean-Marie gets away with a push off on an offensive rebound, and converts; the Ravens lead 62-61 with 1:53 to play in regulation ... Ryan Bell hits a shot from beyond the arc, but Acadia answers with a free throw ... Back and forth, like a great championship fight, Acadia now leads 60-55 ... Doornekamp launches a "3", and suddenly, it's 56-55 ... Whatever momentum Acadia had has quickly gone, as Carleton has rallied to trail by only 4, 56-52 ... Rob Saunders knocks down a 3-ball for Carleton, and after the play, Acadia is called for a hard foul; Doornekamp knocks down one of the two free throws, but they can't convert on the ensuing possession ... Andrew Kraus drains a bomb from the Peace Tower at the buzzer; after three quarters, the Axemen lead 54-45; the first few minutes of the 4th quarter will tell the story, as Acadia has all the momentum and emotion at the moment ... Four more Acadia points, and suddenly, they are back in front, 45-41 ... Carleton extended their lead, but the Axemen didn't roll over, tying the score at 41, with 3 minutes to play in the third quarter ... After shooting a putrid 24% (7-for-29) from the field in the opening 20 minutes, it's a wonder Carleton is still in the game; but they are, and have just taken a one point lead, their first in a long time ... The Ravens narrow the gap in the final few minutes of the half, heading to the locker room training by only a single point, 28-27 ... Acadia just got a big break, as Andrew Kraus lost the ball off his foot out of bounds; but the refs gave the Axemen the ball, and they ended up scoring on the inbound play, extending their lead to 26-17 ... That's two shot clock violations against the Ravens' offense ... The Axemen are currently beating Carleton at their own game, playing a stifling defence; the Ravens are finally on the board in the second quarter, 4 minutes in, trailing 24-17 ... Acadia has upped their lead to 7 points, 22-15, with 7:28 to play in the opening half ... After one quarter, the Axemen lead 19-15, and if it wasn't for a few blown finishes on the offensive end, they would be up by much more ... So far, it doesn't appear that this one will be another 86-38 game, which was the score for the Ravens the last time these two teams met at the Nationals ... Sean Berry has picked up three quick fouls for Acadia, sending him to the bench, almost certainly for the rest of the first half ... Halfway through the opening quarter, and it's been back and forth; currently, the score is knotted 10-10 ... We're almost ready for the second Championship Semi-Final to get underway; In this game, the Top seed and 5-time defending CIS Champs, the Carleton Ravens, tip off against the 5th seeded Acadia Axemen; the winner of this game will advance to face the 7th seeded Brock Badgers in Sunday's Championship Final; Dale Stevens at the controls for this one, while Mark takes care of colour commentary on the SSN broadcast.

Brock 85, Western 75 FINAL

6'7" Owen White had 25 points and 14 rebounds and the Badgers had 5 players in double figures to advance to the championship game as a 7 seed. With Western leading 36-35 after a 7-0 run to start the second half, the Badgers outscored the Mustangs 50-39 the rest of the way to win going away. 6'2" Mike Kemp (12 points, 7 rebounds), 6'3" Rohan Steen (14 points) and 5'10" Brad Rootes (17 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists) each hit 3's early in the fourth quarter as the Badgers broke open a tight game with an assault from downtown. 6'5" Andrew Wedemire kept Western in the game in the second half, scoring all of his 15 points.

Live Blogging...

6'2" Jason Milliquet, as he has done all season, just dropped another long 3 to key a 7-0 run and Western has some life down 7 with 4 minutes remaining. The Badgers have unleashed their aerial assault from downtown as 6'2" Rohan Steen and 6'2" Mike Kemp hit back-to-back bombs from downtown. 5'10" Brad Rootes had hit a long 3 from the left baseline with the shot clock winding down and now 6'7" Dusty Bianchin converted a 3 point play.

6'5" Andrew Wedemire single-handidly kept the Mustangs in the game with an 11 point third quarter including hammering home a dunk along the baseline off an out-of-bounds play to keep the 'Stangs close. But 6'2" Rohan Steen hit a three off a poorly-defended ball screen and the Badgers have the momentum entering the fourth quarter. Earlier, the Badgers had answered Western's early third quarter run with 10-3 run of their own as 6'7" Dusty Bianchin just fed 6'7" Mike Muir for an "and 1". 6'2" Jason Milliquet's 3 started a 7-0 run off the beginning of the third quarter but 6'1" Matt Curtis just fouled 5'10" Brad Rootes from behind the arc and Rootes hit all 3 for a 38-36 Brock lead.

Brock finished the half on an 8-2 run as the Mustangs have not yet found an answer inside for Brock's 6'7" Owen White who has 18 first-half points, including a ferocious offensive rebound and put back and has drawn a couple of fouls on 6'9" Colin Laforme while holding him to 0-3 shooting as Laforme sits. White has added 9 rebounds including 5 on the offensive glass and it could have been worse save for a 6-12 effort from the foul line by White thus far. 6'6" Adam Ruickbie has not fared much better as the Badgers are exploiting that mismatch inside forcing Western to go to their third option, little-used 6'8" Alan Paron. 6'6" Brad Smith had 15 of his 17 points in the first quarter, culminated in a breakaway dunk and 15' jumper, in a tremendous offensive display. Smith, a forward from Barrie, ON scored the Mustangs first 11 points but missed 5 of his last 6 shots plus a pair of free throws. 6'1" Jason Milliquet has picked up the slack with a pair of deep 3's with hands in his face but Western has as yet not been able to further free up the slick-shooting guard from Sarnia. 6'7" Dusty Bianchin has hit a number of mid-range jumpers for Brock as Western clearly is leaving him alone to beat them. The game is a very exciting affair.

First Semi-Final: All OUA West affair between Brock and Western

This will be the fourth meeting between these two teams with Western winning the most recent affair in the OUA West championship game. Two OUA West referees, Paul Carter and Al Robinson will do the game along with a referee from Quebec. Expect a solid battle between 6'7" Owen White and 6'9" Colin Laforme, who did a great job yesterday on 6'5" Ike Uchegbu.

Andy Watson's Article on Ottawa hosting the Nationals

Nation's capital a fitting and worthy host, proving critics wrong as host in first of three consecutive CIS Final 8 tourneys

By Andy Watson

Hey Ottawa: Right On.

As the snow falls outside and St. Patrick’s Day festivities kick off two days before the actual holiday, one could think they are in Halifax.

The nation’s capital has performed admirably in replacing Halifax as the host of CIS Final 8 men’s basketball national tournament.

In some ways, they’ve done better.

First, let me reveal my bias.

I am a Carleton grad. I work at the University of Western Ontario in media relations in the athletics department.

I loved Halifax.

Some of my fondest memories as a student reporter stem from that tournament and the thrilling games, the tremendous hospitality and the great touristy atmosphere in the city.

But Ottawa earns my respect for putting on a great show and this is only after observations from Day 1 of the CIS National Tournament.

The media coverage, which had been absent for the most part in the OUA Wilson Cup championship, is red-hot for this tournament. Saturday’s papers are filled with pages on the games, the future of the tournament and most importantly the student-athletes.

The Ottawa Citizen, which thanks to Wayne Kondro has established itself as the premiere high school and collegiate basketball newspaper in Canada, has been fantastic all year round and continues its rich tradition in supporting university athletics.

But even the not-so-supportive Ottawa Sun and Le Droit newspapers had previews and sent reporters to cover the event. Sun Media was well represented with the London Free Press, The Standard in St. Catharines and the Niagara Falls Review ( the latter two both formerly of Osprey Media, now owned by Quebecor and Sun Media).

CBC Radio, CBC Television, CJOH Ottawa (CTV), Rogers Sportsnet and The Score, which covered the third and fourth quarter-final games, all had beat reporters. TSN would presumably take the CTV footage.

Then there are the extremely dedicated student media.

Take for example Western’s campus radio station, CHRW. The official voice of Western athletics for 27 years drove through last weekend’s crazy-mad blizzard to cover the OUA Wilson Cup game at the Ravens’ Nest because they are dedicated and committed to delivering the game. They drove up after one of the reporters, play by play man Russ Courtney, finished class on Thursday afternoon to be in Ottawa for the game on Friday morning.

Student reporters from The Gazette, The Ubyssey, the Brock Press and The Charlatan were there, along with CUP star photographer Jon Purdy of the Gazette.

CKCU, Carleton University’s campus radio station, and Howard Bloom were there broadcasting the action, while SSN Canada continued its dedication to university sport by covering all of the opening round games. They will, upon completion of the Final 8 tournament, have covered all the games.

Mark Wacyk of cishoops.ca and Dale Stevens of the CIS Basketball Discussion list were there, and Neate Sager doubling duty with the Ottawa Sun and his blog Out of Left Field continued their tireless (and often thankless) efforts giving everyone around the nation timely updates.

The fans were also out in full force, including 2,000+ crowds for the three non-Ottawa quarter-final games. Over 73,000 tickets were sold for the championships going into the opening day.

Speculation of better numbers, soaring over 80,000 thanks to good weather and favourable walk-ups (thanks to the media for helping with this) will set new tournament marks. And we’re not even on championship day yet.

The organizing committee will have its work cut out to help equal the post-game atmosphere so famous in Halifax.

But Ottawa’s downtown core has so many good restaurants, pubs and night spots – for varying crowds whether they be students, parents, families, administrators or the student-athletes – offering everything for the various palettes.

The volunteers were doing a fantastic job on the opening day, and following Halifax in being friendly and hospitable is a tough (perhaps impossible) task to follow or equal. Ottawa was doing just fine with so many enthusiastic and educated volunteers making everything easy for the student-athletes, the coaches, the media and the fans.

So bravo and hats off to Ottawa.

For the first of three years hosting this tourney, I think you’ve silenced the nay-sayers and those who questioned moving the tournament around.

It’s only fair for the entire country to see the quality product that is Canadian university basketball.

So Bytown, keep up the good work.

I’m sure over 80,000 fans will return again next year and that you’ll build on the success in years 2 and 3 and be a favourite to be a host in years to follow.

If you could only do something about the snow, things would be perfect!

Article Links

Wayne Kondro's numerous articles on last night's games One down for the Ravens plus Underdogs have their day Also the Citizen provides a Photo Gallery from Day One

Chris Stevenson's piece in the Ottawa Sun Ravens take first step Also, Neate Sager of the Ottawa Sun highlights the heroics of an unlikely freshman contributor Barbeau takes center court

Neate Sager's game summaries Axemen chop down Laval and Brock stuns T-Birds

Michael Grange of the Globe and Mail UBC suffers first round let down. Meanwhile, another piece on Carleton No First round let down and Western Mustangs unlikely run continues plus pre-tournament pieces from his blog

Morris Dalla Costa's report on Western's win over Saint Mary's Also a note on 6'9" Colin Laforme Laforme in fine form as Mustangs advance

The Halifax Chronicle-Herald has a story on Day One Acadia advances Plenty of great stuff on the Acadia Axemen blog including game stories, live interviews and observerations

Jim Wallace of the St. Catharines Standard reports on Brock's upset over #2 UBC The Niagara Falls review has a piece entitled That was no upset and a piece on Brock's Scott Murray, who had 18 points yesterday Brock's straight shooter shines Also, Hard Work Pays off for Owen White

Wayne Kondro's piece on the proposal for a 16 team tournament Coaches support proposal to expand

James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail surmizes on Why the CIS doesn't draw the same attention

Edmonton Sun picked up Sun Media's article by Neate Sager on last nigth's Carleton/Alberta game Bears buried

Howard Tsumura of the Vancouver Province with a piece written prior to UBC's loss yesterday

A piece in the Ottawa Citizen Hoop fans descend on Ottawa

The Charlatan is Courtside with the Ravens and the Bears

Day One Thoughts

** CORRECTION/APOLOGY ** My apologies for making the claim that there were whispers that not getting a week off in prior Nationals was mentioned as a reason for CW teams not being ready for the Nationals. In fact, as several have pointed out and I have since checked, for at least the last 5 years, Canada West Nationals participants have had at least one week off between their Final Four and the nationals. My apologies...

First of all, tremendous thank you to Dale Stevens for providing updates on the site for the two evening games, despite playing through a severe cold. Dale has proven his loyalty to our game for over 15 years with his very informative discussion list that has communicated stories about the CIS across the country. I appreciate Dale's efforts in providing commentary throughout the day. I was fortunate enough to do the colour commentary on the Streaming Sports Network for the two evening games between Laval and Acadia and Carleton/Alberta. Much thanks to Bengt Neathery, President of SSN, who has made a significant up front investment in the technology and resources needed to deliver games across the country. It is important to SSN to deliver top quality webcasts (which sometimes is inconsistent with their choice of colour men as those who watched the two evening games can attest) and I would encourage you to send any feedback, positive or otherwise, on these webcasts to me and I can forward to Bengt and team. Much thanks also to Mark Masters, with whom I had a great time doing commentary, and Matt Cavanaugh, who was produced/directed (this is where my technical knowledge drops off) all the games and guided us through things. One thing I did get from Matt with respect to quality of the broadcast is apparently cable internet access and less than 100 Meg service is not suitable for live, real time webcasting. I'll confirm the exact technical specifications required. Needless to say, a big thanks to Streaming Sports Network for their investment in CIS men's basketball.

Each of the first four games had their share of intrigue and underlying storylines, starting with the poise Western showed down the stretch of the first game of the day against Saint Mary's. The Mustangs, who look to their perimeter players to provide much of their offense but do get some inside scoring, seemed to get the butterflys out early in the first quarter after their leader, 6'1" Matt Curtis knocked down a three with confidence. As many have likely heard by now, the game was a comingout party for Mustangs 5'11" freshman guard Ryan Barbeau, who played with the poise of a veteran, taking good shots and finishing in transition. But the biggest contribution Barbeau may have made was the job he did hounding Saint Mary's 6'2" Mark McLaughlin, keeping McLaughlin in front of him and then with the game on the line, forcing the slick Huskies guard into a turnover before he could attempt the game tying shot. Western was in control for much of the game as Curtis and 6'1" Jason Milliquet kept things honest from the perimeter and, led by 6'6" Brad Smith, got their high-low game going, but only after Coach Brad Campbell made a very early substitution, sending Smith to the bench with a reminder that hanging around the perimeter was a ticket to watching the game from the sidelines. Smith quickly got the message and made life tough for the Huskies, getting 6'5" Ike Uchegbu in foul trouble and staking Western to leads as large as 14. The Huskies unfortunately went away from their offense, settling too many times for the feast-or-famine one-on-one game. The one time they actually ran a nice set in the first half, Uchegbu got an easy layup. While Western does do a good job defending as a team, they show inconsistent lapses over the course of 40 mintues and it was during one of those lapses that 6'1" Shane Morrison got going, getting to the rim off the dribble. The Mustangs, behind Barbeau's heroics, were able to close out the game via a 6-0 run late created as much by poor Saint Mary's decision making and shot selection as by Western's "d". The Mustangs magical ride through the post season, which according to some very close to the Western program could easily have ended against both Mac and Windsor in the OUA West playoffs, continues tonight against the veteran Brock Badgers... The talented Badgers showed their loyal fans a frustrating paradox of spectacular ball movement and shot making on some possessions combined with terrible decisions and standing around on other possessions. But Brock got it done with a herculean fourth-quarter effort from 6'7" Owen White (13 points including several dazzling inside moves) and the usual big plays down the stretch from 5'10" Brad Rootes. As well, the Badgers defended very well for the most part, especially in key stretches in the game when they had to dig in to gut out a win over UBC. The T-Birds streak of first-round flame outs at the Nationals continues and UBC simply is too inconsistent at both ends to be a legitimate threat at these tournaments. Early on, 6'8" Bryson Kool played with energy and passion with Brock unable to find an answer for him. Unfortunately, his touches were limited for the rest of the game, in part due to Brock dropping back into a zone but keeping Kool in the game offensively did not happen. Head Coach Kevin Hanson had little patience with the play of starting point guard Brett Leversage as 6'1" Alex Murphy got the bulk of the minutes at the point, quickly subbing in very early in the third quarter after some poor decisions by Leversage. 6'3" Chris Dyck, billed as UBC's best offensive player for good reason, had his second consecutive mediocre performance in a first round game (he did not play his best last season against Ottawa in the 1st round as well). Both Dyck and 6'6" Brent Malish could not make shots from the perimeter (UBC was 3 for 17 from downtown). As well, 6'7" Matt Rachar was generally quiet. In the end, this was a UBC team that was in somewhat of a rebuilding mode after losing 6'4" Casey Archibald and several other key rotation members to graduation. It can be argued that this group, as young as they are, actually overachieved in getting this far. But the monkey remains on their backs. As well, I couldn't help but be a little perplexed at a comment attributed to Hanson alluding to the one-week layoff as possibly affecting how the T-Birds performed. While there may be some merit to that notion, if memory serves, in past years the whispers were that playing the weekend prior in the West and then having to travel to Halifax to play on Thursday or Friday also created some discomfort. UBC is a great program with solid players and coaches that hopefully will be back and better for their experience in Ottawa this year... The Laval Acadia game was also a game of runs with le Rouge et Or taking an early 8 point lead on the wonderful offensive skills of 6'7" J.P. Morin and 6'3" J.F. Beaulieu-Mahieux. Early in the game, Laval was able to control the glass and, led by 6'8" Marc-Andre Cote, was able to limit the comfort level of 6'5" All-Canadian Leonel Saintil. However, once Saintil turned the effort level up another notch, le Rouge et Or were no match for him inside and on the offensive glass. Acadia had 10 offensive rebounds in the first half alone to take a commanding lead into halftime. 6'1" Andrew Kraus was very impressive at the point, keeping the Axemen in the game early with a pair of threes and then taking over in the third quarter by continually beating his check off the dribble, basically getting where ever he wanted on the floor to either finish or find Saintil and 6'5" Sean Berry for easy scores after drawing help. With Kraus continually scorching 5'9" Xavier Baribeau off the dribble, it appeared the route was on. But Laval coach Jacques Paiement inserted 5'9" fifth-year backup point Etienne Wilsey into the game and Wilsey did a masterful job stopping dribble penetration with his quick feet and solid defensive posture. With Acadia somewhat stimied offensively, Beaulieu-Mahieux, who has one of the sweetest strokes on the nation, and 6'4" F.O. Gagnon-Hebert, with some nice finishes inside, quickly got Laval back in the game. However, a key play in the game came after 6'4" Jerome Turcotte blocked a shot and then, in the ensuing scrum, tried to pass the ball out. Unfortunately, two of his Laval teammates had leaked out and the ball came to Berry, who laid it in and got fouled, and Acadia was never headed after that. Berry made at least two huge plays down the stretch and then iced the game at the free throw line. In the night cap, Carleton had a miserable shooting effort from downtown and down the stretch at the free throw line but got their usual versatile effort from scrappy 6'7" Aaron Doornekamp and 6'2" Stu Turnbull, who got to the rim at key points in the game to win by 9. Alberta was extremely well prepared and, after holding off an initial Raven run, found themselves within 5 in the third quarter and with the momentum. I was particularly impressed with 6'5" Harvey Bradford, who did a great job battling tooth-and-nail with Doornekamp all evening and was the offensive catalyst for the Bears during their third quarter run which brought the game back. At that point, the Bears were scoring on almost every possession and leaving Carleton to numerous one-and-done possessions. But the fouls started to mount for Alberta; in the end 4 starters fouled out. 6'2" Alex Steele, CW POY, finished with 13 points but found out why many believe 6'4" Ryan Bell is the best defender in the nation. Steele made a couple of 3's, including the only time all night he was left wide open after a rare poor Carleton defensive rotation but, despite his obviously-quick first step, Bell was able to stay with the slick guard. Steele also quickly took advantage of a possession when he wasn't being guarded by Bell, getting to the rim against 6'2" Rob Saunders. Unfortunately, as was the case in the Laval/Acadia game, the referees in many spots were very quick with their whistles, making some calls that appeared perplexing and at worst were no calls. In the end, coach Don Horwood had enough and took a technical, which sealed his team's fate but Horwood and team are lamenting the fact that they probably didn't get a chance to properly test themselves against the Ravens due to all the foul trouble. Still, if the Ravens shoot the ball at anywhere near their usual accuracy, because they had plenty of open looks, and the Ravens make their free throws, it's a 15 to 20 point game in my opinion.... I'd love to post more and actually review what I just wrote but my family calls...


Also, thanks to those who advised that another name needs to be added to the list of 4 time All-Canadians. Ottawa native Tim Mau (Guelph) was a 4 time All-Canadian as follows: – 89-90, 90-91(2nd), 91-92, 92-93

Andy Watson's note on Western vs. Brock

Western will play Brock in CIS national semi-final at 6 p.m. on March 14
Rookie reflects: Guard Ryan Barbeau talks about the semi-final game against Brock and the experience of winning his first game at nationals OTTAWA, Ont. – The Western Mustangs will play the Brock Badgers in a rematch of the CIS semi-final on March 15 at 6 p.m.
Western, ranked No. 6, defeated the No. 3 Saint Mary’s Huskies 75-70 in the first CIS quarter-final, while the No. 7 Badgers upset the No. 2 UBC Thunderbirds 83-76 to move on. UBC and Saint Mary's will play in the consolation semi-final at 11:30 a.m.
Western defeated the Badgers twice in three meetings this season, including a 17-point win the OUA West final on March 1 in St. Catharines.
“The key to containing Brock is to hold them to bad looks from three-point range,” said rookie guard Ryan Barbeau, a defensive presence who will likely join teammate Matt Curtis in trying to contain second-team All-Canadian Brad Rootes in the game. “If you keep him (Rootes) in front of you and don’t let him penetrate or have an open look from three you can contain him.”
“We just need to limit his looks and we’ll be successful.”
For all the other scores, including the results of the Laval-Acadia and Carleton-Alberta quarter-finals later tonight, visit http://www.universitysport.ca/e/final8/index.cfm
Barbeau, a three-time ‘AA’ OFSAA championship winner with his dad Jim coaching at Nicholson Collegiate in Belleville, Ont., has really come into his own lately.
Playing very well defensively in all of Western’s playoff games, Barbeau has been containing the nation’s best. Meanwhile, his patented “tear-drop” shot was recently chronicled by the London Free Press’s Morris Dalla Costa.
Barbeau said the adjustment to university ball has been easier than he expected. Playing at nationals hasn’t been a tough adjustment from the regular season.
“I don’t really think there’s added pressure, we continue to play the way we’ve played all season,” Barbeau said.
He’s got the confidence of a senior player and he’s only in his first year.
Already, basketball pundits are expecting Barbeau to be the heir-apparent at the starting point guard position when Matt Curtis graduates after next season.
He’s proving already that he’s capable of the task.
His teammates were electrified when he hit a three to give Western a 13-point lead in the third quarter. He fought like a medieval knight for a loose ball with junior Saint Mary’s guard Mark McLaughlin in the fourth quarter. He earned a jump ball call that killed the Huskies’ comeback bid.
“At that point we knew we’d won. That call solidified it,” Barbeau said. “We knew we’d be moving on to the national final, and it was a great feeling.”
If Barbeau continues to contribute the way he did – he added four assists in the quarter-final win – Western will be able to open up guards Curtis (Hamilton, Ont.) and Jason Milliquet (Sarnia, Ont.) to contribute more on offence.
Head coach Bradley Campbell recently gave Barbeau accolades, but knows that he is still making the mistakes of a first-year player with untimely turnovers. He’s handling the pressure teams are starting to give him in the backcourt and gives his team an edge as a second ball-handler.
Barbeau and the Mustangs have a bright future ahead with just Adam Ruickbie and Alan Paron graduating. But they want to get a taste of national victory now and upend Brock for a shot at a national title in the championship at 3:30 p.m. on March 16.
Watch Barbeau and the Mustangs LIVE on The Score on March 15 at 6 p.m. in their semi-final against the Brock Badgers.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Quarter Final #4 - Carleton 66 Alberta 57 FINAL

It will be Carleton vs. Acadia in Saturday's second Semi-Final, by virtue of the Ravens' 66-57 victory over Alberta ... The Ravens look to be well on their way to the win, up 61-54, with 2 minutes on the clock ... 5:00 minutes remain, and the Ravens lead 61-52 ... After 3 quarters, it's Carleton 55 Alberta 45; Doornekamp continues to lead all scorers, with 17 points; Stu Turnbull has 11 for the Ravens, while Neb Aleksic has come off the bench to pace the Bears with 15 points ... It continues to be a game of runs, as the Ravens have built up a 54-43 advantage ... Just as quickly, Alberta answers back, tallying 7 straight points, making it 49-43 ... Carleton has scored 9 straight points, and suddenly, it's 49-36 ... Mike Kenny hits a huge "3", to give the Ravens some breathing room, 43-36 ... We have 5:00 to play in the third quarter, and Alberta is making it interesting, cutting the deficit to only 4 points, 40-36 ... Early in the third quarter, the Golden Bears are looking to make a run; they trail 38-30, with 6:44 left in the quarter ... Looking at the first half statistics, CIS Player of the Year, Aaron Doornekamp, leads all scorers with 15 points; Alberta struggled from the field, shooting only 31%; combine that with a 16-9 deficit in the rebound numbers, and it's easy to see why the defending champs are ahead ... At the half, the Ravens lead 35-23 ... The Carleton run has hit 9 straight points, as they hold a 27-16 advantage, with 4:47 to play in the first half ... After an Alberta 3-ball brought them to within 2 points, Mike Kenny knocked down a shot of his own from beyond the arc, restoring a 5 point margin, 21-16 ... After 10 minutes, the Bears close the quarter with a small run, but the top seed leads 18-11 ... The Ravens are in complete control in the early going, leading 16-5, late in the first quarter ... We're more than 3 minutes into the game, and Alberta finally gets on the board, trailing 6-2 ... Here we go, we're underway! ... Dale Stevens back at the controls, as Mark continues his excellent commentary on the SSN network broadcasts; We're almost ready to go with the final game of the day, featuring the top seed, and 5-time defending CIS Champions, the Carleton Ravens, facing the 8th seeded Alberta Golden Bears; so far today, the lower seeds have won all three games; if this game does the same, it will be a monumental upset; then again, don't count out a Don Horwood-coached team.

Quarter Final #3 - Acadia 85 Laval 77 FINAL

Here are some of the relevant numbers from this game; Saintil paced Acadia with a 27 point, 10 rebound double-double, and was named the Axemen Player of the Game; Laval's Beaulieu Maheux led all scorers with 28 points, and was named the Rouge et Or Player of the Game; Acadia dominated the glass, to the tune of 36-20 ... Acadia withstands the run, and pulls away to an 85-77 win; the Axemen advance to Saturday's second Semi-Final, where they will face the winner of the Carleton/Alberta game ... Laval is making a big run, cutting the margin to only 3 points, 74-71, with just under 5 minutes to play ... Sorry for the lack of updates; the wireless connection at Scotiabank Place picked a bad time to go down :-) ... After 3 quarters, the Axemen lead 62-53, but a nice little run by Laval at the end of the quarter gives them a bit of hope ... Midway through the third quarter, Acadia still holds the advantage, stretching it to 55-37 ... Looking at some first half stats; the two All Canadians led the way; Leonel Saintil scored a game high 13 points for the Axemen, while JP Morin paced the Rouge et Or with 11; Acadia dominated the glass, outrebounding Laval 21-11, including 11 big offensive boards ... It was all Acadia in the second quarter, outscoring Laval by a 28-10 margin, to take a 39-28 lead into the locker room at the half ... The run continues, now stretching to 16-2, giving the wild card selection a 27-20 lead ... The Rouge et Or have gone cold from the field, and Acadia has taken advantage, outscoring the Quebec champs 9-2 in the first 3 minutes of the second quarter, to knot the game 20-20 ... After one quarter of play, the Rouge et Or hold a 18-11 advantage; Acadia seems to be forcing the ball too much on the offensive end; JF Beaulieu-Maheux leads the way for Laval with 9 points, while Andrew Kraus has 6 for the Axemen ... Five minutes in, Laval leads 10-5, on the strength of a couple of three-balls ... This is Dale Stevens, subbing for Mark, while he takes care of the colour commentary for the internet broadcast; I'll try to keep you updated on the game; Most recent posts at the top; We're about to get underway!!

Brock 83, UBC 78

6'7" Owen White had 13 of his game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter and the Badgers held off a couple of late T-Bird charges to become the second Ontario team to advance to the Final 4 tomorrow with a win over the T-Birds, who again fail to get out of the first round of the championship tournament. White continually got great position in the blocks and when he was left alone outside, he made several face up jumpers. Brock also got their usual steady game from 5'10" All-Canadian Brad Rootes (16 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds, 1 turnover), who helped clinch the game with a pretty scoop shot splitting into the lane. Later, 6'3" Rohan Steen (9 points) hit a clutch 3 from the left corner to restore Brock's 7 point lead and the Badgers were not threatened thereafter. UBC made one final push late in the game as 6'3" Blaine Labranche knocked down a 3 and then 6'7" Matt Rachar (10 points, 8 rebounds) stripped Rootes and went in for a three point play to bring UBC back to within 2 with under 2 minutes to play. But then Rootes and Steen made their big plays and Brock was on their way to the semi-finals. Brock took control early in the fourth after an 8-1 run with as White scored the last 4 points in the run. Badgers 6'0" Scott Murray (18 points including 3-6 from 3) was very instrumental in the win, knocking down 3 clutch 3's and getting to the rim down the stretch. Earlier, Murray and T-Birds 6'1" Alex Murphy traded conventional 3 point plays at the end of the quarter as Brock took a 52-50 lead heading into the final frame. A 13-3 UBC run early in the third quarter keyed by a steal off an inbounds pass has brought the game back to even after Brock led by 10. With Brock up 40-30, 6'6" Brent Malish (18 points, 9 rebounds) intercepted an inbounds pass and fed 6'3" Chris Dyck for a throw down which energized the T-Birds and when Malish completed an old fashioned three point play, UBC led for the first time but Murray answered with a three. 6'8" Bryson Kool (13 points, 8 rebounds) had a strong first half but 6 points after halftime while 6'3' Chris Dyck (16 points on 7-18 from the floor) fought a 1-6 shooting afternoon from downtown part of a 3 for 17 effort by the Birds overall, which ultimately led to their undoing.


Brock finished the half on an 8-4 run culminated in a three by 6'3" Mike Kemp (12 points) to lead going into halftime. Brock fell back into a 3/2 zone midway through the second quarter and this partially negated 6'8" Bryson Kool (7 points, 4 rebounds) who was having his way inside including a nasty dunk in traffic. 6'6" Brent Malish (team-high 9 points) hit a three from the left corner and then on the next possession Kool, who was the best player on the floor early, threw down his slam on 6'7" Michael Muir to give UBC what turned out to be a short-lived lead. 5'10" Brad Rootes fed 6'3" Rohan Steen for a transition 3 and Rootes later hit 3 free throws, part of a 6-0 run that extended Brock's lead late. Brock is generally being stimied in the quarter court but is taking advantage of transition opportunities. UBC finished the first quarter on an 8-0 run highlighted by a pair of transition layups by 6'1" Alex Murphy to come to within a point of the Badgers. Brock had burst out to a 19-10 lead behind 6 points including a long 3 by 6'0" Scott Murray but he is on the bench with 2 fouls. 6'7" Owen White (7 points, 3-4 shooting) knocked in a 15' in transition and a tough finish inside to give Brock the early lead but has found the going tough against UBC's interior "d". UBC has clamped down defensively, holding Brock scoreless for the final 4 minutes of the quarter. 6'3" Chris Dyck was only 2 for 8 in the first half with 4 points.

Western 75, SMU 70 FINAL

6'1" Matt Curtis had 10 of his 15 points in the first half and hit a pair of game clinching free throws while 5'11" freshman Ryan Barbeau was outstanding with 15 points, 4 assists but just as importantly did a tremendous job guarding 6'3" Mark McLaughlin as the Mustangs almost blew a 14 point deficit but closed out the game to advance to tomorrow's championship semi-final against the winner of UBC/Brock. The Huskies made their final run behind 6'1" Shane Morrison who keyed a 7-1 run to bring the Huskies to within 1 at 71-70 but Curtis hit a pair of free throws with 13.4 seconds left to give Western a 3 point lead and then Barbeau stripped McLaughlin as he tried to get off an attempt at a game-tying shot. Barbeau also was instrumental in helping Western rip off what turned out to be the game-deciding 6-0 run with a pair of transition layups and generally looking like a poised veteran throughout the game. Curtis had turned the corner for his first points of the second half to get to the rim to start the run started by poor Saint Mary's decisions on the offensive end. Western had solid offensive balance with Barbeau, Curtis and 6'6" Brad Smith each scoring 15 while 6'9" Colin Laforme had 10 points, 8 rebounds and sharpshooter Jason Milliquet with 11 including 3-10 from downtown. Western shot 9 for 28 (32%) from behind the arc and survived despite 27 points from Morrison and 18 from McLaughlin. Saint Mary's hurt themselves with a 9 for 20 effort from the foul line.

A 6-2 run highlighted by 6'1" Jason Milliquet's 3rd 3 of the game has restored a five point lead for the Mustangs who have nearly squandered a 14 point lead but seem to have withstood a Huskies run. 6'5" Aaron Duncan just hit an NBA 3 to bring the Huskies back to within one and the Huskies, who have rode 5 players for much of the game, took a timeout. Saint Mary's just went on an 8-0 run to end the quarter, much of it getting to the rim against pourous Western "d" and the Huskies are back in it. The Mustangs led by as many as 14 early in the third and thus far has a comfortable lead. Western is getting solid effort from freshman Ryan Barbeau. Western is finding the range from downtown as Matt Curtis just hit his second 3 of the game with the shot clock winding down to restore a 9 point lead. Back-to-back 3's by Brad Smith and Alex Brzozowicz gave the Mustangs their largest lead at 9 with under 5 minutes left. Shane Morrison is beginning to assert himeself getting to the rim. Neither team can find the range as Western has been trying to pound it inside against SMU's double downs to moderate success while Saint Mary's is settling and when they get it inside, can't finish. Huskies are also 1 for 6 from the free throw line. 6'1" Matt Curtis with 5 early points and a Jason Milliquet 3 during an 8-0 run gave Western an early lead with 4:48 to play. SMU is pressing to slow the 'Stangs down after makes while Curtis has started quickly on offense. Western doing a great job of limiting the looks of 6'3" Mark McLaughlin who has attempted only 2 shots and the Huskies shot selection and decision-making at times has been suspect.

Entering Day One: Summary of Postings

Quarter-Final Game Previews:

11:30 AM #3 Saint Mary's vs. #6 Western
2:00 PM #2 UBC vs. #7 Brock
6:00 PM #4 Laval vs. #5 Acadia
8:00 PM #1 Carleton vs. #8 Alberta

Also, the Charlatan's Carleton/Alberta preview


Team Previews:

Western

Acadia

Brock

Saint Mary's

Laval

Carleton

UBC

Alberta


Also, articles from this morning (a link to links)

#1 Carleton vs. #8 Alberta Preview

Two of the top coaching minds in the CIS tangle this evening as Alberta's Don Horwood, who has marshalled his Bears to three CIS National championships, meets Carleton and Dave Smart with 5 consecutive National championships. On the surface, a #8 vs. #1 game, especially with the inconsistent post-season the Bears have had thus far going only 3-4 but winning the game they needed to to get to Ottawa, would not likely be forecasted to be very close. But upon tighter examination, Alberta does have a case for being able to play with and possibly upset the #1 Ravens. The teams met in October on a neutral court in Victoria with Carleton winning by 5 in what appeared to be a typical early-season game as Alberta went on 8 for 18 from the free throw line and the Ravens turned the ball over an uncharacteristic 26 times, a season-high (possible program high in the Dave Smart era). In that game, the Bears did a good job of limiting Carleton's looks from downtown (4 for 10), but shot under 40% themselves from the field. In 6'4" Andrew Parker and 6'2" Alex Steele, Alberta has a pair of offensive difference makers who, if they get on a roll, could pose problems for the Ravens, especially in transition. Parker is arguably the best athlete in the CIS with his explosiveness rising and getting to the rim with his momentum-changing transition dunks and blocked shots inside. Carleton does not have an athlete to match Parker's explosiveness. Steele, CW POY, has one of the quickest first steps in the CIS and is a difficult matchup in the half court, which probably means that 6'4" Ryan Bell, with all due respect to Brandon's Yul Michel and this season's other nominees for CIS Defensive POY, the best defender in the CIS, will likely spend the majority of tonight's game checking Steele. Like in last season's decisive first-round win over Acadia, the Ravens will have to convert defensively to thwart Parker in transition; in the half court, it will likely be 6'2" Rob Saunders, Carleton's second best ball defender, who will guard Parker. The Bears have their own decisions to make with respect to 6'7" Moser Award winner Aaron Doornekamp, a difficult matchup, and will likely start 6'5" Harvey Bradford on Doornekamp. The real test comes when Doornekamp works in the low post area: will the Bears decided to double down and if so, from where?; regardless, expect Doornekamp to exploit any efforts to double him inside. A pair of hard working forwards in 6'4" Justin Vanloo and 6'5" Jean-Emmanuel Jean-Marie will likely do battle inside. Vanloo is the key to Alberta's traditional high post oriented offense in which reads and reactions are key; many times the Bears offense begins with an entry to Vanloo in the high post. 6'10" Richard Bates will see considerable time for Alberta as well, likely off the bench and it will be interesting to see how Carleton responds, either matching up size wise with 6'7" Kevin McCleery or 6'10" Neal Dawson or pulling Bates out to defend the perimeter (or both). Alberta almost runs a point guard by committee with 6'1" C.G. Morrison likely doing most of the work bringing the ball up, likely against 6'3" Stuart Turnbull, Carleton's most gritty player but Steele and 6'0" Scott Leigh, the starter until the Canada West Final Four, should also see time starting the offense. An important defensive consideration for Alberta is keeping Turnbull, an emerging force off the dribble, out of the lane, where he has been able to get into to create. Could Alberta be thinking of some zone? Leigh is a nice matchup for Carleton's slick 5'11" sophomore guard Mike Kenny, who will see his fare share of time as well. 6'5" Neb Alkesic will need to perform from the perimeter to keep things honest against the Ravens pack-it-in "d" which challenges teams to make shots against their tight rotations and close outs. Bottom Line: Although both teams can go 10 deep if need be, expect six or seven players on each team to get the bulk of the minutes if the game remains tight down the stretch, like it did in October when these teams met in Victoria. Carleton's ability to take advantage of Doornekamp's size advantage with Bradford and how Alberta reacts defensively will be a factor as will the Ravens ability to deal with Steele off the dribble and Parker in transition and on the offensive glass.